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Obama’s Unsolicited Advice To Britain On EU Membership – OpEd


Presidents of United States of America have always been used to provide guidance and advice to other countries whether they are wanted or not .Possibly, this habit have happened, due to the obsession of an idea in the mind of US Presidents that USA is the policeman of the world. Maintaining the same trend, President Obama has now advised that Britain should stay in European Union, even as the poll will take place in Britain on June 23, 2016 to ascertain the majority view of the British population.

President Obama’s advice has been criticized by some section of the British population who correctly think that Britishers are capable of judging the situation and arriving at a decision based on their own interests and priorities without any interference or advice from others.

While Britishers are debating about the pros and cons of Britain joining EU, there appear to be a definite view that European Union is not a natural union but an artificial one without any emotional integration that is the primary requisite for any union .

The European Union has now existed for quite sometime and on several matters it has not been able to take any unanimous decision due to disagreement between member states and conflict of interests. European parliament virtually remains as a toothless body and a forum for debates. For example, the European Union has not been able to find a meaningful solution to tackle the refugee crisis and different member states have been criticizing and accusing each other of acting on self interest without keeping overall interest of European Union in view.

One cannot miss the fact that all said and done, European nations speak different languages and have different cultures and historical background. Historically, several of them have fought against each other and such history cannot be forgotten in one stroke. Even after the formation of European Union and it existing for several years now, there is no indication that member states of European Union have shed their nationalist feelings and developed any specific European feelings. One can visualize patriotism of Germans or patriotism of French but can any one visualize patriotism of Europeans?

It is possible that many Britishers think that Britain joining the E U would amount to giving up the distinct identity of Britain as an independent nation with a proud culture and tradition and it may well happen this way if Britain were to join the EU Perhaps, several Britishers also do not think that any individual European nation has gained anything spectacular by joining the EU .

While such factors may be making the Britishers introspect about the advisability of joining EU, President Obama has not given any valid or convincing arguments to influence the view of the Britishers except trying to play an emotional chord.

President Obama said that leaving the EU would leave the U.K. less able to tackle the threat of global terrorism, the refugee crisis, “economic headwinds” and climate change. President Obama has further said , “As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of the relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices – democracy, the rule of law, open markets – across the continent and to its periphery.” Many Britishers will not agree with President Obama’s view that Britain will become weak without being a member of E U .

Perhaps, while giving the above unsolicited advice to Britishers, President Obama may be thinking more about the interests of United States rather than that of Britain. Perhaps, he thinks that USA has to handle only one entity if E U were to be formed instead of several entities, if European nations would remain separate. He may be under the impression that influencing one E U would be easier and quicker than influencing several individual European nations , whenever USA would need their support.

Britishers are used to the culture of democracy and independent thinking. They would take their own decision on joining EU and President Obama’s advice may make no difference to whatever they ultimately decide.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

3 thoughts on “Obama’s Unsolicited Advice To Britain On EU Membership – OpEd

  • April 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

    As an Englishman who believes that the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union, according to polls over half of the British electorate, I welcome the intervention of the President of the United States and hope it will make even more of my fellow countrymen support the Union. Naturally those Brexiters who are nostalgic for a UK that was once independently powerful, are less comforted by his words and will seek, like your author, to weaken its effect. They have promised an independent trade deal with the United States as a keystone of Brexit. The President rightly warns them off that notion.

  • April 23, 2016 at 10:46 am

    If Obama were still just a ward heeler in Cook COunty he would still presume to tell thes what they should do because that what narcissists do.

  • April 24, 2016 at 5:34 am

    As an ardent student of EEC/EU since its inception(pl see my website),I entirely agree with President Obama .This is the problem with the Brits–they periodically get hallucinations of their old grandeur and try to play a role independent of Europe.In fact,the USA would prefer a divided Europe
    and not “a united states of Europe”.(Recall Windton Churchill).But Obama has given a statesman-like advice which the Brits should accept on June 23rd.


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